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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, (850) 245-2112

Highlands Hammock State Park Celebrates 25th Annual Civilian Conservation Corps Festival

~Event commemorates individuals who built one of Florida’s first state parks~

SEBRING – In celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Florida State Parks, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Highlands Hammock State Park held the 25th Annual Civilian Conservation Corps Festival today. The event commemorates and reunites the individuals of President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) who worked to build America’s state and national parks during the 1930s.

“Without the CCC, many of Florida’s great state parks would not be so rich in natural and cultural history that we have recognized all year long during the 75th Anniversary,” said Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. “We are pleased to continue to acknowledge this event as the 25th annual celebration in which we have honored the individuals of the CCC.”

The first CCC camp was established in June 1934 at what is now Highlands Hammock State Park, known at the time as Camp SP-3. In 1934, a CCC camp began working on a botanical garden project adjacent to Highlands Hammock Park, after its municipal opening in 1931. When the Florida Park Service was established in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the garden project and the park properties were merged and became Highlands Hammock State Park. The botanical garden project was abandoned after World War II, but the history of this time is interpreted in the state CCC Museum located within the park.

Today, festival goers enjoyed arts and crafts vendors, an antique car show. Live music and entertainment, children's activities, wildlife exhibits, tram tours, hayrides and festival foods were also a crowd favorite. A special CCC reunion brought in park creators to share memories of time gone past.

Florida State Parks recognizes the debt it owes to the men who contributed their labor and lives to the construction of Florida's first state parks. The State Civilian Conservation Corps Museum was established and opened at Highlands Hammock State Park in 1994 and upgraded in 2003 to commemorate their contributions.

About Florida State Parks Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the Florida State Park system has grown from eight to 160 parks in the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service. For more information about Florida’s state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org

Highlands Hammock State Park

"Without the CCC, many of Florida’s great state parks would not be so rich in natural and cultural history that we have recognized all year long during the 75th Anniversary."

Donald Forgione
Florida State Parks Director



Last updated: November 08, 2010

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